Unreal Nature

March 18, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:30 am

… The property of a new idea, distilled in the depths of the mind is that … it seeks and instills activity in other ideas that were awaiting …

This is from ‘Old Bones’ found in The Eye Listens by Paul Claudel (1950):

… Scholars share with children, whose simple artful souls they often possess, these likeable characteristics one of which is devotion to an idea and the other sincerity in their insincerity. Knowing that a hypothesis needs time to ripen, while awaiting the hour of confirmation or refutation, they skillfully arrange for it that alibi beyond the reach of logic and fact, which is excited repetition, vehemence in affirmation, and tranquility in absurdity.

… To be sure, paper puts up with everything, and you can affirm anything whatever provided that you protect yourself carefully from experience — the movement, for instance, for the automobile. But what is to be said for this pitiless and multiple traction called life? Thus Kant, Spinoza, Spencer and all the other writers of handbooks may invent a pretty little moral at home. But when the simple early inhabitants of the land of Gog try to apply that of Karl Marx, the cloth can be seen to crack at the same time as the seam. So little by little they had to give in to the evidence.

[ … ]

diagram of a fountain pen

… I procured, like everybody else, a portable reservoir terminating in a gold point, that contains the matter for a whole outlay of words spread over any number of pages. Only when I press on the piston, it is not only ink that I suck up with a hissing noise, and I notice that I have introduced into this hollow cell between my fingers, a black imp, or rather that, after cruelly squeezing him, I have conferred upon him a cruel dilation by filling him up with substance.

fountain pen squeeze filler

[line break added] The Bible tells us that blood is the vehicle of the soul, but what about ink? … [T]oday there is a whole poem under pressure, all the elements of a book, a whole section of images and ideas that I keep repressed, without any other outlet than this spinneret on the end of an inexhaustible nib, in this depths of this vulcanite case. Why be surprised that between this sharp finger of the mind and the three others of the flesh alone that hold it and that it guides, should be established a secret complicity?

[line break added] Sometimes the harness pulls me along. Like a troika across Russia, I devour the snowy plain, and when I stop, I require no little time and a close study of the landmarks to make out just where I am, something all the more important since for a long time past I have lost the habit of ever retracing my footsteps.

… The property of a new idea, distilled in the depths of the mind is that, by a kind of gravity, and chemical and dialectic affinity, it seeks and instills activity in other ideas that were awaiting its contact, to blossom.

My most recent previous post from Claudel’s book is here.




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